Drink From a Firehose – Without Drowning

Let’s face it. We have all found ourselves in situations where we were the “newbie.” In the midst of numerous people who have worked together for years, know what they are doing and are trying to bring us “up-to-speed.” And/or, we are losing sleep about an upcoming situation that will look something like this.

Too often, people get flustered and either avoid, or soon bail out of, these situations which could have otherwise turned out to be very lucrative opportunities.

Realize, that every single person on the planet has been in this situation. Don’t worry!

But, what can a person do? Quite simply, learn to drink from a firehose, without drowning.

More specifically, when you find yourself in a situation like this you are encouraged to listen intently, take notes and ask lots of questions. Don’t try to over-evaluate or make sense of everything all at once. Just take it all in.

Once you get alone (back to your cubicle, office or home) sort through, review and organize your notes. Let all the collected information simmer in your mind. THINK (as outlined in a prior post). And, prepare another round of questions that you can pose at the next available opportunity to clarify and confirm your understanding.

What is most exciting is that you are in the enviable position of being able to ask ANY question possible. More often than not, one of your questions will result in the “experts” saying “WOW, we’ve never thought of it that way!” Voila, you may have just helped the team make a breakthrough towards a long-standing problem or barrier to success. Good for you!

In closing, don’t let the fear of unknown circumstances and surroundings prevent you from jumping in with both feet. Go for it. Drink from the firehose. THINK and make lucid observations. You will find that you have unbelievable talents and insights you had previously not acknowledged.

Just say – “Bring it on!”

3 thoughts on “Drink From a Firehose – Without Drowning

  1. beaverfood says:

    This part of the process (of understanding a situation or mess) is the most enjoyable/rewarding part of problem solving. I agree…let it flow, and “drink” it all in. Savor every thought. As you begin to learn and understand, you will be in an enviable position of being able to ask some really good questions. Some may be stupid. Most will not. In the end, everyone learns more about the situation than they ever thought possible.

    Great article!

  2. […] Can drink from a firehose without drowning by effectively assimilating large amounts of information and makes lucid observations that propel the team forward! […]

  3. […] on a prior post, this is the phase when the PM is “drinking from a firehose” taking everything in / making sure no details are lost. All well and […]

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